Connecticut has widespread and deeply rooted racial disparities in education. Compared to their white peers, our state’s children of color have lower rates of academic achievement and higher rates of contact with the criminal justice system. And disparities exist between students and teachers, where teachers of color represent only eight percent of the educator workforce, while over 40 percent of Connecticut’s students are children of color.
But that may soon change, thanks to you.
In the twilight of the 2018 legislative session, your state representatives passed two bills that will create a more diverse and excellent education system by:
- Enabling the state legislature to consider how potential laws would impact racial equity.
- Removing barriers to creating a diverse and talented teacher pipeline.
For educators like Stuart Beckford, a teacher at the Kennelley School in Hartford, these laws will give his students new educational opportunities.
“We must make every attempt to expand diversity by creating opportunities to encourage those who have taken a different path to education to join the fold of teaching. We must continue to build up this momentum through identifying those who have a calling in education. These two bills now chart new pathways for people of diverse backgrounds to begin to impact the education opportunities for our students,” Beckford said.
And your advocacy made this possible. Your powerful, testimonies in the state legislature throughout this session raised decision-makers’ awareness of the challenges in recruiting and retaining teachers of color to Connecticut. You spoke with your colleagues and your families about the importance of addressing these racial disparities in potential state laws and the teacher pipeline. And you went to work every day to help your students overcome the obstacles of institutionalized racism.
You spoke out and your educators listened. Thank your state legislators for prioritizing teacher diversity and ask them to continue working on behalf of all our students next session!